Owners of second, holiday homes owe the most property service fees

Many properties on the western Costa del Sol own money.
Many properties on the western Costa del Sol own money. / SUR
  • The total amount of debt in community charges in residential complexes stood at 60.4m euros in Malaga and the Costa del Sol in 2016, an 8% drop on the previous year

New data released this week for 2016 shows that the level of unpaid property service charges in Malaga and the Costa del Sol is particularly high due to the amount of properties that are used as second homes or holiday lets.

Information supplied by the association that represents managers of residential communities in the province says that, in total, 60.4 million euros were owed by owners for the common services in their complexes.

Almost half this debt was down to owners of second homes, who usually don’t live in them and who pay up last, says the association. This problem is particularly acute in the coastal areas, which has the highest amount of tourist properties.

Of the total amount of properties in debt, 49 per cent were on the western Costa del Sol, the report said, while 23 per cent were in Malaga city and 21 per cent in the Axarquía area.

Compared to December 2015, the total figure represents a fall of eight per cent, which the report authors say is down to both the better conditions financially in which many families are finding themselves as the economy picks up and also the increase in the property market;when a property is sold all outstanding community fees need to be paid first.

Fernando Pastor, president of the Colegio de Administradores de Fincas de Málaga y Melilla, the official body behind the study, highlighted that Brexit and the corresponding drop in the pound sterling’s value caused an increase in debt from British second-home owners, however he also added that there has been a 30 per cent increase in British-owned homes on sale in the last year, and that that was good news for debt levels, as community fees need to be paid before a sale can go through.